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Intelligence is expressed in lots of ways. Typically in this day and age, smarts is synonymous with academic achievement. Sometimes adults who did not go to college, feel they essentially have not achieved a level of raw intelligence that their peers in contrast may have developed as a result of extensive schooling. However, what most modern stigma-setters fail to acknowledge, is that studying at university is not the end all be all to developing a robust flourishing brain . Take for example athletic achievement. Sure, an athlete utilizes a form of intelligence that is much different than what your typical school procedures may require-- But you may not see the bigger picture. Take for example the playing of a musical instrument. This simple act alone requires hand eye coordination and higher brain faculties that work in unison. In analyzing instrument players MRI Scans, it has been revealed that the subjects scanned had increased brain volume in a very specific area of the brain and overall better connectivity throughout. While the two aforementioned activities are commonly known to improve crystallized intelligence (in one form or another), there are in fact many ways to improve your brain capacity that you probably have not considered. Many of these activities you already do. So you may be smarter than you think! Below are just some ways that you use your brain to an effective end, that an academic career alone would not quite manifest. Some of these activities require a relatively high amount of adeptness, execution and ability and I will continue to allude to these terms as simply “intelligence” in the very basic sense of the word. Chess: Take chess for example. You don’t go to school to learn Chess. In fact Chess is more often than not, somewhat of an “extracurricular” activity not part of any curriculum. Yet to play the game requires the memorization of many chess openings, strategies of attack etc. The game itself is a puzzle, only solved by utilizing highly competent cognitive faculties. Would you deprive yourself by playing Chess everyday instead of tending lectures? I think not. Good! You’ve told me 3 things I already knew (you are saying to yourself.) But this topic has more depth... ...Playing Poker requires a fair amount of intuitive ability. You’ll be surprised to find that there are many people who do not understand this beautiful game . From the rules of the game, to the terminology you must learn, to the meticulous math you may hold in your head as you make calculated assessments. There are lots of things going on in the brain during a poker game. It’s hardly a passive activity! Painting. Yes who would have thought. Creating a piece of art is not only a form of meditation for some people, but it takes a very precise level of focus and ability. And motor functions. My favorite of all is carpentry. Imagine you are a surgeon and you are to perform brain surgery on a patient. “It’s not brain surgery” - usually that attribution is correct when referring to anything that does not require you to exert yourself. It’s not brain surgery? Well, maybe it is... When you build a home, there is lots of “brain surgery” that goes in to the project. Take for example the foundation you must lay of concrete, making sure the surface is flat. Then there’s adding the support beams, framing, finally the drywall. Installing electricity comes next. Plumping. And all of this requiring your highly developed math skills as it all comes down to your math and measurement. A total of 600,000 calculations you made in the three months it took to erect the structure. Did I mention installing the Septic? Ew. Tell me this! Does drilling a hole, slicing a slab of brain matter, and removing a glutenous chunk of mysterious plaque any different than playing a nintendo wii game that requires a little getting used to? I think building the Empire State building would be a lot harder than “Brain Surgery”. Of course, I’m not a doctor. So I wouldn’t know.